Darlene Greene's career image makeover could actually be a matter of life and death. It's a given that, as the founder of an organization that helps victims of domestic abuse, she has to look professional and put together to win the support of authorities and donors. But it's also vital for her to look engaging, successful and, most of all, trustworthy, so victims will feel comfortable reaching out to her. She is, after all, the face of a survivor.
"Abusers rob their victims of their self-confidence. They tell them they're ugly, they're worthless, and that no one else will ever love them," says Darlene, who knows from personal experience that it's essential for victims understand their beauty and value. "I want them to see that if I can overcome an abusive situation, so can they."
While Darlene successfully extricated herself from an abusive marriage, her sister was not so fortunate, and it's her fatal experience that inspired Darlene to start the Ina Mae Greene Foundation "For My Sisters." Ina Mae, a young mother of four, was shot in the head and killed by her boyfriend, a Chicago law enforcement officer. Sadly, these were not the family's only experiences with domestic abuse. Their aunt had been stabbed to death by a rejected suitor.
"The FBI says that women who try to leave have a 75 percent chance of being murdered by their abusers," Darlene says. "I was lucky; but too many people, like my sister and my aunt, are not -- 5.3 million women in the United States are abused each year by someone who is supposed to love them." Darlene felt a moral obligation to her sister, her aunt, and the millions of women who suffer from domestic abuse, to provide a resource for these women.
While the Ina Mae Greene Foundation is Darlene's passion, in this economy she knew it would be foolish to quit her day job in beauty products sales, so she began working the equivalent of two full time jobs. She knew she had to sacrifice somewhere, and she thought spending less time shopping, primping and pampering herself together would be a good place to start.
Treating her to a well-deserved makeover
So AOL image experts offered to step in and take care of that for her at the Diva Toolbox Conference in Boston. Darlene was invited by Head Diva Janet Powers to fly in from her home in Dallas, where we would help her with the simple, yet fresh and chic style she deserves. When she speaks to community groups on behalf of her foundation, she needs a look that says "I am professional, yet I am accessible. This is what a survivor can look like, and you can get here too." A business suit would have been too stuffy, and pants too informal. She wanted the victims she works with to know that they're worth getting dressed up for.
We took her to the nearby Green Tangerine Spa and Salon in Burlington, Mass., where makeup artist Marie Martin used GloMinerals foundation and concealer in tones of cocoa and honey to even out Darlene's complexion, complemented by natural-colored eye shadow with a wee bit of eggplant, black mascara and eyeliner, and papaya blush. The object was to make her look effortlessly ready to give a presentation at a moment's notice.
We have to admit we were a little concerned when we turned color specialist Roger Plourde loose on Darlene's long locks. It seems she'd recently had extensions applied, but she wasn't happy with them, and she said she wouldn't mind having them removed. So away went the weave, and the short hair that remained was died a deep, coppery red. At one point we had to have faith that Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Hair Colorist would be able to work his magic, and we weren't disappointed. Once her hair was straightened and highlighted with gold, the results were stunning.
We found a beautiful linen jacket in robins egg blue (a cheerful, yet soothing color) at the Talbot's outlet, where it was marked down several times from $149.00 to about $37.00. We then paired it with a chocolate brown knit top and tweed skirt, selecting brown rather than black, for a less severe look. We pulled the outfit together with a blue-edged animal print scarf from the Carlisle Collection, and added additional sparkle with Lia Sophia jewelry stylishly provided by Cynthia Fitzgerald. A pair of mocha brown power heels that give Darlene confidence and elan completed the outfit.
Now Darlene is ready for a very busy October. It's Domestic Violence Awareness month, and people in the Dallas area will be wearing purple and white ribbons to honor that. Darlene is being featured on public service announcements on local radio, and she's interviewing survivors on her own radio show, 'For My Sisters,' on the Diva Toolbox Radio Network. She'll also be flying to Chicago to speak and give out clothing and other supplies to women in need at Family Rescue, as part of the No Excuse, Stop the Abuse campaign.
Darlene is well aware of the fact that it takes far more than a new hairstyle and outfit to fight the ravages of domestic abuse. But now she feels adequately armored, empowered and confident enough to forge ahead in battle. She could well be considered today's version of a warrior princess, and AOL Jobs is honored to help her defend the cause.
Get Darlene's makeover look with these similar styles:
Jacket: Irish Linen No-Close Jacket at Talbots Outlet ($74)
Shoes: Pour La Victoire T-Strap at Amazon.com on AOL Shopping (from $114)
Scarf: Silk Leopard Print Scarf at Spiegel on AOL Shopping ($29)
Top: Bisou Bisou Rib Mesh Top at J.C. Penney via AOL Shopping ($25)
Skirt: Classiques Entier 'Harvest' Tweed Skirt at Nordstrom on AOL Shopping ($100)
Earrings: Orbital Earrings from Lia Sophia ($32)
Necklace: Artistic Flair Necklace from Lia Sophia ($44)
Bracelet: Moon Dance Bracelet from Lia Sophia ($52)
Darlene's makeover outfit was provided by the Diva Toolbox from these sources: Talbots, WardrobePerfect.com, and CarlisleCollection.com. Darlene's jewelry was provided by: liasophia.com/cynthiafitzgerald. You can purchase Lia Sophia jewelry by contacting a Lia Sophia Hostess.
Get Darlene's makeup look with these beauty products:
Darlene's Makeup List:
Face Primer ($23)
Protective Liquid Foundation Satin in a blend of Cocoa Light and Cocoa Medium (from $30)
GloMinerals Concealer in Honey ($30)
Pressed Base in Cocoa ($30)
Eye Shadow Trio in Posh ($28)
Eye Shadow in Eggplant ($18)
Precision Eye Pencil in Black (from $16)
Volumizing Mascara in Black ($19)
Brow Pencil in Brunette ($16)
Blush in Papaya ($24)
Lip Pencil in Cocoa ($17)
Liquid Lips in Black Cherry ($15)
-- See All Work It! Makeovers on AOL Jobs
Do you need a makeover to help you pursue your professional passion? Do you feel your style is holding you back, or perhaps keeping you from landing your dream job? Has it been quite some time since you've looked for work, and now, as you begin your search, you find that everything has changed and you need to change with it? AOL would love to hear your story. Tell us where you live and why you need a makeover, and you just may be one of the fortunate ones selected. We're looking for both men and women of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes and interests. Let us help you move ahead.